Pins, pipes, and un petit problème

Yesterday, we arrived back on site. It was great to be back, a warm sunny day, and the internet connection is now live!

We’re only here for a week, but there are a few key things that need to happen before we return at the end of June for the bulk of the work. First up, the surveyor returned and put marking pins in the ground to show where the walls need to be built. These can’t be moved until the stone wall is up!

Pins as far as the eye can see

Pins as far as the eye can see

This showed up a little problem – one of the foundations was slightly too narrow.

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Modern conveniences

BT OpenReach engineer hooking up our phone line.

BT OpenReach engineer hooking up our phone line.

When we moved onto site to start the foundations, we had no electricity, internet, or running water. We did have mains water to the site, but it required two people to fill up a 5 litre bottle – one to wrestle the 32mm supply pipe into the bottle, and the other to turn on the toby1, which is the main valve controlling the supply of water to our property. All cooking (and heating of water) had to be done over a fire. This was fun at times, but challenging at others (especially when it starts snowing early in the morning and we had not sorted dry tinder the night before). Charging mobile phones and computers or accessing the internet required a 300m walk to Wiston Lodge (who have kindly allowed us to use theirs). This might not sound like a big deal, but when you need to check something quickly or send an email in the middle of building works, it can be quite problematic. Continue reading


  1. Called a mains stopcock outside of Scotland – don’t ask me where ‘toby’ came from. 

Shed on the move

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One of the first things we did when we bought our plot was to buy a shed to store things in. And for almost three years, that is the only structure that we put up. This shed and I are not great friends. I would have thought that a pre-fab, mass-produced item would at least be predictable. But let’s just say that the tolerances and quality control at the manufacturer leave a lot to be desired. Wall panels that don’t fit together properly, windows that are the wrong size for the opening in the wall, you get the picture. And with our storage container, the shed is surplus to requirements. We were going to take it down, but then realised we would need an enclosure to house electrical sockets for use during the build. The shed will do nicely for that, but it’s in the wrong place. At the end of last month, with some friends, we rolled it into a new position. Pete, I thought you would appreciate the use we’re getting out of the shed given all the help you gave us in putting it up!

 

Power up

Cross-section of a three-phase electricity cable.

Cross-section of a three-phase electricity cable.

At the end of last year we were down on site supervising the installation of our electricity mains cable. The logistics required careful planning as we had to coordinate between Wiston Lodge, the man digging the trench for us, and ScottishPower. The electricity cable has to run from the distribution point behind the Lodge, across the front of the Lodge and its parking area, along a track, down the side of a ravine, under a burn, and up the other side to our plot. From the perspective of Wiston Lodge, the key things was to schedule this at a time when they weren’t busy with lots of groups and guests given that an open trench was going to cut across the front. Continue reading